Things that were and are

The Little Book of the Revelation - Second in a series

The Revelation opens with a view to how its contents are to be presented. Somewhat like a cascading waterfall, God gives the book to Jesus Christ who will make it known through an Angel to John and to the Seven Churches, and to you and me. (Rev 1:1-2)

We are promised a blessing if we read or hear the prophecy of the Revelation— if we keep it, that is, carefully guard and take care of what we learn. The advance views and warnings will serve as protection for our hearts, for it is easy to drown in rough waters, and the events described are predestined and imminent. (Rev 1:3)

The Revelation is an epistle to the churches (Rev 1:4), and so much more. In its first chapter we gain a description of the glorious Lord, what he has done for us, the promise of his second coming, and how he appeared to John.

John is charged by Christ to write what he will see and to send the book to the seven churches in Asia. (Rev 1:11) The first vision he must describe is of the Lord in the midst of seven candlesticks. (Rev 1:12-16)

Some interpretation of this scene is provided:

  • “As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands (candlesticks), the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” (Rev 1:20)

The Revelation will pertain to ‘things which are’ and ‘things which shall be hereafter.’

  • “Write therefore the things which thou sawest, and the things which are, and the things which shall come to pass hereafter” (Rev 1:19 ASV)

‘The things which are’ in part pertain to the seven churches of Chapters 2 and 3, and some commentators say that these are also representative of types or difficulties that churches have experienced across the centuries.

Christ exhorts the seven ‘lampstands’, as follows:

These believers are walking the walk, patient, discerning, persevering; but they have left their first love. It is well to love serving, learning, and all the ways we press into faith, but don’t put those ahead of loving the Lord.
Good workers under trials though impoverished; tribulation is coming; keep the faith to avoid the second death.
Members exhibit faithful and bold service to Christ in an evil city; warned to separate from the Nicolaitans who brought into the church false doctrine, permitting sexual sin.
These are patient, charitable, faithful, and good workers; however, their leniency with a woman who called herself a prophetess must end. She seduced the faithful to practice sexual evil. Christ searches our reins and hearts, for steadfastness and devotion (Rev 2:23). Churches must discipline members who lead others astray into spiritual confusion and death.
A decimated church that must think back and go back to their good start; only a few are worthy to walk with the Lord; repent!
A church with a little strength that has kept Christ’s Word and will be protected from the hour of temptation coming upon the world.
Lukewarm, well-off, unprofitable believers who need to repent.

In the next post we will see more ‘things that are’ which will lift our sights, and comfort us, the church, in such great need of improvement.

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